Sports sensor kit connects new and legacy fitness equipment

North Pole Engineering’s WYÛR and CÔRD sports sensor connectivity kits allow users to connect new and legacy fitness equipment that operate using different wireless protocols.

They use Nordic Semiconductor’s nRF52832 and nRF52840 SoCs to convert between ANT+, Bluetooth Low Energy and other fitness sensor profiles.

The Nordic Semiconductor nRF52832 multi-protocol SoC is used in the WYÛR and the CÔRD devices use the nRF52840 multi-protocol SoC for translation to connect common ANT+ and Bluetooth LE fitness sensors to ANT+ and Bluetooth LE receivers, multiple devices to an Apple TV or enable the user to receive ANT+ data in their virtual training app or Bluetooth LE-only cycling head unit, for example.

Both kits convert Apple Watch heart rate data to ANT+ or Bluetooth LE heart rate data using the company’s ‘heartbeatz’ app. WYÛR also converts Apple Watch, ANT+, or Bluetooth LE heart rate to Polar 5kHz heart rate. WYÛR also works as a standalone cycling speed, cycling cadence, and running cadence-only footpod while also performing multi-protocol translation.

“For indoor cycling, most legacy power meters only broadcast in ANT+, while most smart trainers use Bluetooth LE,” explained Daniel Stallings, director of marketing and business development at North Pole Engineering. Cycling speed and cadence sensors come in a variety of both ANT+ and Bluetooth LE, and of course every training app on your smartphone uses Bluetooth LE, he explained.

Daniel Stallings, North Pole Engineering, added that users of multiple devices, for example a power meter, heart rate monitor and a cadence sensor and trying to connect to Apple TV can only choose two of these devices to connect because the Apple TV only allows for two Bluetooth LE connections. “WYÛR and CÔRD resolve all these issues,” said Stallings.

The multi-protocol support of Nordic’s nRF52832 and nRF52840 SoCs allows users to send and receive data using ANT+ and Bluetooth LE protocols and data formats to accommodate the broadest range of fitness sensors, equipment, wearables, and mobile devices. Both the nRF52832 and nRF52840 SoCs feature full protocol concurrency including between Bluetooth LE, ANT+ and 2.4GHz proprietary protocols.

In addition to the multi-protocol translation functionality, the devices share other features including the simultaneous rebroadcast of data via both ANT+ and Bluetooth LE, and the capability to broadcast in multiple concurrent Bluetooth service formats depending on the needs of the user. The devices’ heartbeatz technology allows users to connect their Apple Watch heart rate output to any ANT+ receiver such as a smart bike or treadmill, without requiring the use of a smartphone to perform as a gateway.

The WYÛR platform also integrates a six-axis inertial measurement unit (IMU) for cycling speed, cycling cadence and step detection, supervised by the Nordic nRF52832 SoC’s 64MHz, 32bit Arm Cortex M4 processor with floating point unit (FPU). The Nordic SoC’s on-chip NFC-A tag is also used to wake the device from sleep mode, to help preserve battery life. WYÛR employs a coin cell battery to achieve battery life from months to over one year depending on usage and configuration, thanks in part to the low power characteristics of the Nordic SoC. 

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